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#STEMStories: Jasmine, Cloud Advocate, USA

1. Introduce yourself, who are you what do you do?

I’m Jasmine Greenaway, and I write code, and teach others how to do it too through speaking, workshops, and small projects! Right now I do those two things (plus a little more) as a Cloud Advocate at Microsoft. I also teach beginning web development at a local college, and co-organize a local meetup called BrooklynJS.

2. How did you arrive at this career (or point in your life/work)? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do?

As a teen, I was hogging the house computer all the time! I would customize my MySpace and LiveJournal and do it for friends as well. Eventually this led to making websites on Geocities, a web hosting platform. At the time, however, I was certain that I wanted to be a meteorologist because the movie Twister had a huge impact on me at a young age.

When I got to college, I declared my major in research meteorology, with a minor in computer science because I was certain I’d need it for a better competitive edge in the job market. 2 years in, I realized I really loved my CS classes and switched my major to software engineering! 10 years and a master’s degree later I can still say with confidence it’s the first of the three best decisions I’ve made for my life so far.

3. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings?

My task list! I usually write one in my work bullet journal for the next day before I finish work for the current day. Though we have specific responsibilities, my team’s role is a very “choose your own adventure” approach, so we have to be self starters to a certain extent. Because of this, the tasks I have are the result of something I participated in, or started myself, so I always have something to look forward to.

4. What is your personal cure for stress or how do you raise your spirits in times of doubt? Can you share a Story?

Usually I’ll take a long break where I go for a walk and listen to fast paced music, or sit somewhere comfy and look at funny memes. Recently, I recognized what mental exhaustion looks and feels like for me. Stress is so unhealthy, and the more you let it invade your life, the less you’ll notice it’s impact!

Sometimes when I have a really hard and stressful week, I’ll take a sick day or even a half day and go do something fun or relaxing. I think stress should fall in the sick day category, because, in my mind if I don’t take care of myself now, I’ll be taking more days off to recover in the near future. I know some may not be into that, but it’s truly an investment in your health and sometimes a weekend isn’t enough, especially if you’re “Sunday scaries” prone.

5. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this?

My mom. I admire her ability to adapt and think on her feet. She’s a pastor; I watched her start and run a whole church for over 25 years and really handle everything like a boss, she’s a natural leader.

6. What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back in time?

“Be true to yourself”

7. Top 3 tips for girls starting out in STEM?

  • You’re your own worst critic, don’t beat yourself up! Negative thoughts are NEVER helpful.
  • Asking questions is an integral part of your career, get into a comfortable rhythm of asking for clarification or asking for help sooner rather than later.
  • Take a deep breath or two (or three) before attempting any difficult task.
  • (I have an extra one!) One of the greatest gifts you’ll receive in your job is downtime, use it to your advantage.

8. How do you measure your success?

Before and during whatever I’m working on, I try to visualize a successful outcome so that I can adapt, adjust, or iterate.

9. Where can we find out more about your work?

On my GitHub!

10. Are you social? Will you share your Twitter handle, or LinkedIn profile, or Facebook so that young women can connect with you?

My Twitter handle is @paladique and is currently the best way to connect with me.